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Coronavirus
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Nursing home residents learning to cope with separation

Society has learned that separation from one another is not that easy. It can be boring and frustrating at the same time.

The nice thing is that many of us can still meet one another if we are careful to stand outdoors and also outside of a conversation’s spitting distance at 6 feet apart.

Senior living centers cannot afford even a simple risk during this time, and per federal recommendations reopening these facilities to family visits are the last phase of the country’s safety plan.

The Living Community of St. Joseph’s Ashley Davis spoke about how staff there are keeping spirits up, even after a scare when an employee tested positive for COVID-19 in early April.

“We had no other staff, no residents even come up with symptoms,” Davis said. “That shows us that our precautions that we’re putting in place are working.”

Irma Walker took up residence at Living Community last year and said she’s never experienced anything like the current pandemic.

“I feel very blessed that we have good care here during this,” Walker said. “I’m 93 years old, I’ll be 94 in August, and I think a good attitude has a lot to do with (coping).”

Walker plays Mexican train dominoes every afternoon with a few other residents. On Fridays, she gets popcorn and watches a movie, and on Sundays she watches Ashland United Methodist Church’s service streamed online.

To stay connected with families and friends, the staff has helped residents use Skype, Zoom, FaceTime and other digital means to communicate. On Walker’s refrigerator she proudly displays artwork prepared by children in the community.

“Families can also do letters, phone calls, of course, and some window meetings,” Davis said. “We’ve had a couple of families put posters and signs out in the yard so their loved one could look out the window and see.”

That included a special sign on Mother’s Day. Walker’s daughter has been helping her get the simple pleasures in life even though they haven’t been able to see each other in person for two or three months.

“She shops for me for things that I need, and also she does bring me food,” Walker said. “Hopefully something will come out good from this. You know, we say we’d like to get back to normal, well, I’m doubtful that normal’s gonna be the same as it was before.”

White House official have proposed Centers for Disease Control guidelines to reopening the country listed on their website. State governments hold the discretion on implementation.

Phase two is obtained when there is no evidence of a virus rebound. At that time, schools can reopen, elective surgeries can resume and bars do not have to restrict occupancy as heavily.

Phase three comes after a prolonged period shows that the virus will not rebound. This is when guests will be allowed to enter nursing homes and visit with loved ones.


Local_news
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Crop prices could see decline for 2020

It is no hidden secret the farming industry has taken a massive hit with the coronavirus pandemic, with a lot of focus on meat processing and availability.

Crop prices are sure to take a hit from the pandemic as well, but the results of that are not as obvious at this point.

“It is always something, and right now it is the prices,” Jeff Rhode, a team leader for crop insurance at FCS Financial, said. “Farmers in the area think they have the potential to raise a decent crop, but they do not think they will be able to get too much for it from a price perspective.”

Data from the U. S. Department of Agriculture shows there is an increase of area to plant corn by 8% for 2020 and an increase of 10% in area to plant soybeans this year.

But an increase in acreage to plant also turns to less demand for the desired crops. That combined with the ability to have a place to get the crops processed and packaged, similar to the meat industry, leads to less expected returns this year for farmers.

“With the meat industry there is no problem with supply like corn and beans. The same applies there in terms of market outlets, and the limited availability of them currently, once the country gets going again, I think it will improve,” Rhode said.

Comparing the prices in Missouri for March from 2019 to 2020 for amount per bushel for soybeans, there is a slight drop in price. The price of soybeans in March of 2019 was $8.52. The price in March of 2020 was $8.46, according to the USDA.

Corn saw an increase of 7 cents per bushel, from $3.61 in 2019 to $3.68 in March of this year. The month of April statistics are not available for the crops in the state, but it is expected to see some of the impact of the pandemic hitting the price points.

On a positive note for Northwest Missouri farmers, there has been no significant water damage to stunt the process of getting crops in for the fall harvest.

“Most of the farmers I have talked to are getting their corn in and their beans and have had a good run at getting them in,” Rhode said. “With rain moving into the area, it looks like they are going to hit it hard before it does to get crop in the ground.”

According to the USDA, a record number of prevent planting filing claims were recorded in 2019, which was about 20 million acres of land.

Rhode also mentioned that prevent plant insurance policy prices had gone down from this year to last. But with that comes less money farmer could get in return if they are unable to sell their produce.


Local_news
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Coronavirus leads to digital Memorial Day proclamation

Due to the ongoing pandemic, no ceremony was held in Civic Center Park among the monuments to those who have died serving the community and the country.

Last Thursday, during a virtual City Council work session, Mayor Bill McMurray stated that no get together would happen in order to follow distancing guidelines. He read a proclamation for the day of remembrance in the digital session.

“On this day, we honor the men and women who made the supreme sacrifice and acknowledge and protect the ideals they died for so their sacrifice will not be in vain,” McMurray read. “Now, therefore, I Bill McMurray, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Mayor of the City, do hereby proclaim Monday, May the 25th, 2020 as Memorial Day.”

A few days prior to this work session, the Council voted to provide funds for a future firefighters’ memorial to honor those who have sacrificed.

Councilmember Russell Moore, a former battalion chief for the St. Joseph Fire Department, was pleased to see the project getting some legs.

“I’m very happy with that, very happy,” Moore said. “There’s firefighters who have become injured. We, I think, are going to — they talked about at least — be putting some names on of firefighters who have died in the line of duty. We’ve had a few. So, I’m happy seeing them move forward with this.”

Local No. 77 of the International Association of Fire Fighters union is currently raising funds for an $80,000 monument.

The Council’s decision will donate $30,000 toward the construction, which is the same amount that was given to the Fraternal Order of Police by a previous Council for construction of the Peace Officer’s memorial in Civic Center Park.

The agreement also allows the monument to be constructed on the front of the recently-constructed Fire Station No. 9 between Faraon and Jules Streets.

Fire Chief Mike Dalsing and Police Chief Chris Connally signed off on the funds, which will come from the cell phone program.

A date for the construction of the monument is currently not known.


Coronavirus
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Missouri COVID cases top 12,000

Missouri recorded 12,167 cases of COVID-19 on Monday, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. The number of cases is up by 179 from 11,988 on Sunday, resulting in a 1.5% increase.

The number of deaths increased from 681 to 685.

Meanwhile, Johns Hopkins University, which also counts presumptive positive cases, is reporting 12,476 cases in Missouri and 689 deaths.

In Buchanan County, 628 people have tested positive for the virus as of Monday, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

Mosaic Life Care has issued 5,046 tests in its service area, with 268 returning a positive result, 4,750 a negative result and 28 still pending. Sixteen people are inpatients in St. Joseph.

Kansas recorded 9,218 cases of COVID-19 on Monday, up from 8,958 on Friday. A total of 188 people have died. The Kansas Department of Health announced it is ending daily reporting and instead will release numbers on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.